Wednesday, February 12, 2014

The Truth About Stand for Children and Common Core

This article in the Lafayette Advertiser tells us that a group (Stand for Children) has set up a website to tell the public the 'truth' about the Common Core. Make no mistake about it, Stand for Children is just a highly paid “front” group that was put in place and funded lavishly by the Gates Foundation and several other corporate reformer groups to promote Common Core without regard to the truth. Stand for Children exists simply to do the bidding of John White, Jindal and the privatizers of public education. Be sure to read the comments by readers at the end of the article giving the funding sources and contributions to for Stand for Children.

In the news story John White is quoted as saying that “What's in place are Louisiana standards, and the state ranks at or near the bottom when compared to the rest of the country.” In this statement White ignores the fact that those same Louisiana standards were rated second from the top of the 50 states in 2012 by a survey called “Quality Counts” which was published in Education Week magazine. At that time our LDOE hailed the Quality Counts rating as an indication that Louisiana education was on the right track. How is it that all of a sudden our standards are no good?

You see White is purposely feeding the myth that Louisiana has low standards for our students and that if we would just adopt the “rigorous” Common Core standards, our students would magically start performing much better. As I pointed out in a previous post, the high standards in Louisiana have made very little difference in how Louisiana students perform. The hard work of our teachers has produced steady progress in our students' performance on LEAP and iLEAP, but our students are still held back by the fact that Louisiana is second only to Mississippi in rate of student poverty. Not coincidentally, Louisiana also rates just above Mississippi in student performance on the NAEP test. By the way, it is also not correct to state that we need PARCC because we need a way of comparing our students to other states. The NAEP test has been doing exactly that for years. It seems that all the reasons for adopting CCSS and PARCC are bogus, and that Stand for Children exists only to sell us on the reformer agenda.

Don't you get tired of the lie by White and his supporters like Stand For Children telling us that the new standards will "empower" teachers to teach the way they really want to teach. That's a slap in the face of the teachers of Louisiana who have been systematically strtipped of their power and dignity as teachers by all the Jindal deforms. This CCSS further handcuffs teachers and their students to the new PARCC tests. 

What is the real truth about CCSS? The CCSS standards were developed by non-classroom teachers who apparently did not know how to set standards for early childhood education and for students with disabilities. In addition, the standards require methods of teaching math and ELA that are not practical and that will not work effectively in classrooms. The standards were never field tested to determine their quality or to correct errors. The result will be that Louisiana students, just like students in New York and Kentucky will struggle and be frustrated by the PARCC tests. John White's policy of using a lower cut score for Louisiana students will not fool anyone about their performance on these tests. The truth is that the CCSS are a failure, not our students. Why should our students and our schools be punished for the mistakes of the CCSS designers?


Anonymous said...

Mike, you say that NAEP has been comparing LA students to the nation for years...another "thing" that has been bulldozed in all of this is...when I was in college and learning the history of education, I remember one lesson that exposed to us where the "standards/benchmarks" that the states used came from. There were these groups called National Councils on English, Math, Social Studies, Science, etc. These "Councils" were made up of education professionals who created a common national standards list for each discipline/grade level that the states used to derive what they would teach in their classrooms. Where are these National Councils now? Did they fold up their tents and let the Common Core simply shove them out of the way? Have they been kidnapped and being held against their will? Doesn't the NAEP use the standards created by these Councils to determine where states rank today?

I also have to put in a note here on the NAEP...this is coming from my 8th grade classroom...students at my school were conscripted as a random sample for NAEP two years ago. Just before the proctors came in to take over the students waiting in my room....these students, some of them mine, asked me what this test was. I told them it was the would compare our state to the rest of the nation. They rolled their eyes and whined, "another test? How long is it? Do I have to take it? Does it matter if I don't really try?" As positive as I tried to make it sound...the sentiment that spread around that room that day made it obvious that they planned to tolerate the test...but if it demanded real effort/thought...they'd guess and put their heads down ASAP.

Anyone that wants to Stand for Children need to STOP TESTING THEM so much!!! Really? Pre-test (they have started just guessing on these because they know it won't count against them), mid-unit diagnostic test (they only tolerate if they think we are grading it), and post-test (where their final grade matters) for each unit????? Guess which one they actually read?

You want to Stand for Children? Figure out how to transfer funds from textbooks to computers without taking away the teachers' salaries? Also, have a rational understanding that a lost/stolen/damaged laptop costs more to replace/repair than a textbook and many of our students' families will not be able to afford to replace what is being pushed down their throats. We can't get them to pay for a $50 lost textbook! Not only that, but a text book's "life" is about 7 years? I've been teaching 20 years and have only changed books three long will a lap top last in the hands of children??? My personal children are not allowed to touch my personal PC at home because I can use it without incident for 7-8 years...but let them touch it for 15 minutes and I have 450 viruses!!! Really???

(Today's Advocate editorial is about changing from books to this necessary? Yes! Practical? Maybe not so much when you look at the overall picture I've painted above!)

Not only that, but it seems ALL professions pass the cost of commercial upgrades along to the seems to be the only profession that takes the cost of upgrades out of teacher pay checks. I heard through the grapevine (union) that we are probably going to get another 2.75% increase in MFP but it won't have strings attached to increase teacher salaries...don't get me wrong...I want new technology for my students...but if that is going to come from my living wages for the rest of my career...that isn't what I signed on for.

I'm on a soap box today...thanks for providing this place to vent! If you feel so inclined...feel free to use ANY of my ideas in a future blog with no need to cite me for the thought.

Anonymous said...

put an end to Common Core. It was a money maker for some greedy people, not a tool to educate children

Unknown said...

Anonymous #1, thanks for the ammunition.
Michael Deshotels

Anonymous said...

If the 'standards' of any teaching method is the responsibility of State and Local school boards, then where is the necessity of Federally Forced 'guidance'? Can we not use our own insight to Create standards that are BETTER than the 'standards' that the federal government is forcing on us? Do we not have the Right, and the Responsibility, of 'standards' that reflect what WE believe, not some socialist in Washington D.C.?

Our Education system is indeed flawed, though not Fatally Flawed.

Common Core will infect the wounds of the flaws of our educational system and kill it. The Children who are educated under the auspices of Common Core will eventually vote themselves out of Freedom itself.

That fact bears repeating...

Children educated through Common Core will eventually vote themselves out of Freedom itself.

Free people find it difficult to comprehend how fellow citizens would ever vote themselves into tyranny. Common Core State Standards were developed by people who believe in State (Centralized) control of Education. These same people believe that all Citizens must be subservient to the state. This means that the current administration, who believes in open borders, gay marriage, a diminished U.S. military, re-distribution of wealth, and any number of 'transformational' ideals, will be in charge of Educating the young people in school today. Once taught that Socialist ideas are so much 'better' than the 'oppressive' ideals of our Heritage, students growing up being taught these flawed ideals will willingly run out and vote for every Socialist policy proposed by the Elitists that will enslave them. This is why I am of this opinion:


Michael Deshotels said...

Our Louisiana school standards before the move to Common Core were definitly not low according to the latest Education Week report. Louisiana was ranked second in the nation according to the Education week report of 2013. Go to this web address to see for yourself.

Brooke Falgout said...

We have a group fighting this, funding out of our own pockets!!